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Motor Vehicle Litigation / April 26, 2018
Court/Case No: Macomb County Circuit Court/16-3931-NF
Tried/Argued Before: Judge
Verdict: $0 – Motion for Summary Disposition granted
Name of Judge(s): Honorable James Biernat
Keys to the Case:
American Country Insurance Company filed a third party complaint against Auto Owners Insurance Company alleging that Auto Owners was primary for payment of first party benefits to a catastrophically injured claimant. The claims at issue exceeded $635,000. American Country argued that the claimant was homeless at the time of the accident, and as a result, was deemed to be domiciled with his parents, Auto Owners insureds.
Auto Owners argued that the claimant had not lived with his parents since 2007 and had been married twice since then. Thus, the claimant’s marriage effectively changed his domicile to his former spouse’s address. Further, the claimant did not meet the residency factors of Workman v. Detroit Auto Inter-Insurance Exchange, 404 Mich. 477 (1979). Indeed, the claimant had minimal personal belongings at his parents’ home, did not have his own bedroom, and only received junk mail at the home.
American Country argued that the Auto Owners’ insured address was listed on the claimant’s license and medical records, and that since he was homeless at the time of the accident, he must have lived with his parents as a matter of law.
The Court applied the Workman test and found that the catastrophically injured claimant did not reside with Auto Owners insureds at the time of the motor vehicle accident, thereby making American Country primary for first-party benefits.
Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case: